By

Amanda is Healthy Food Guide's nutrition editor with a degree in nutrition and a post-grad diploma in dietetics. She is a member of the British Dietetic Association; The Nutrition Society and The Guild of Food...

It’s the coffee shop’s biggest menu change in 33 years and we’re pretty excited to see the addition of gluten-free bread and several vegan options to Pret’s latest 2019 offering. HFG’s nutrition editor suggests the healthiest choices from the 21 new products at Pret a Manger.

Convenient breakfasts or lunches from Pret are a common sight on our team’s desks. That’s why when it launched its new-look menu, we were keen to sample the new options and, more importantly – deduce which options were actually healthy.

BEST BREAKFAST:

Almond Butter & Berry Bircher, £2.35, 314kcal healthy choices from pret

‘The gluten-free oats in this tasty pot will provide some filling soluble fibre as well as insoluble fibre, which is good for gut health,’ says Amanda. ‘Adding a skinny cappuccino will boost both protein, which like soluble fibre, is especially satiating along with calcium for strong bones. This takes the calories to around the 400kcal mark – the recommended calorie load from PHE for breakfast.

‘However, bear in mind that one pot has 19.6g fat. Pret’s nutritional labelling doesn’t break this down to distinguish unhealthy saturated fat from healthier fats, so it’s hard to know how heart-friendly this pot will be. Also, be aware that one pot gives you 26.8g carbohydrates and it’s likely that a fair proportion of this comes from the five berry compote, in the form of added sugars.’

So if you do opt for a grab-and-go breakfast, just watch your intake of saturates and added sugars for the rest of the day.

BEST SNACK:

Pret’s Nut Bar, £1.60/45g, 242kcalhealthy choices from pret

‘Unless you opt for straight fruit or naked nuts, healthy snacks are hard to find in coffee shops. Pret’s Nut Bar has 242kcal so you need to factor this in to your daily calorie intake. Of its 17g fat, over 12g is saturated, which is more than 50% of a woman’s daily total. It’s far from ideal with 13g sugars, but it’s low in salt and is one of the better choices in terms of snacking.’

As we’d normally recommend opting for two healthy snacks of around 100 calories each per day, you might want to stick to the Nut Bar alone if you fancy it, as it’s higher in calories.

BEST LUNCH:

Humous & Chipotle Wrap, £2.99, 412kcalhealthy choices from pret

‘Wraps tend to be low glycaemic index and so give a slow release of sugar into the blood during the afternoon ahead. The hummus in this one provides soluble fibre and protein, which will assist this slow digestion and help avoid that mid-afternoon energy dip. It only has 2.5g saturated fat and 1.7g salt. Having a banana and apple to follow will bring total calories to around 560kcal in total. Public Health England (PHE) recommends about 600 calories for lunch so the ‘spare’ can help to make up for the extra kcal in your snacks, since PHE recommends 100 per snack.’

BEST GLUTEN-FREE LUNCH:

Smashed Avo on Pret’s Gluten-Free Bread, £3.25, 293kcalhealthy choices from pret

One of the hottest additions to Pret’s new menu, you can now get avo-to-go with its gluten-free bread topped with smashed avocado, chilli flakes and a squeeze of lemon.

This one-slice-of-bread open sandwich gives you 293kcal, with 20.1g total fat. Much of this fat is unsaturated, from the avocado, with one serving giving you a fifth of your 20g a day maximum of saturated fats for women. The carbohydrate is just 19.1g as it’s an open sandwich. But with just 5.6g protein per serving, it is worth lining up a protein-rich snack mid-afternoon to help you get through to your evening meal without falling back on a biscuit or cake-fuelled energy lift. This lunch scores well on salt with just 1g per serving.’

BEST TREAT:

Mocha Pot, £2.35, 316kcalhealthy choices from pret

If you are going to have a treat then I would suggest going for the Mocha Pot, although there are some important ‘buts’. First, you need to take into account the 316kcal it contains. Next, it’s made with coconut yogurt so you can’t tell how much of the 26.7g fat is saturated. Without a breakdown of carbohydrate available on the Pret site, it isn’t possible to know how much of the 15.4g carbohydrate is added sugars, either, but I would suspect that at least 10g, if not more, should count towards your daily 30g total.’

So if you do fancy this mocha pud, go easy on sweet treats for the rest of the day!

NOT SO HEALTHY:

Coco-Berry Bircher Smoothie, £2.75/250ml, 265kcal (Vegan)healthy choices from pret

Although this smoothie was one of the team’s favourite picks from the new menu, Amanda was quick to point out its flaws… ‘I think it’s a nutritional wolf in sheep’s clothing,’ she says. ‘With 265kcal per serving, it packs in 16.5g fat, of which 15.3g is saturated. This is over three-quarters of a woman’s daily maximum. It also provides 18.8g sugars, leaving only just over 11g for the rest of the day.’

If you do want to go for it, we’d recommend maybe sticking to half the bottle!

And for days when you’re feeling a little more organised, here are 10 healthy ideas for packed lunches.